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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Taste of Palermo

MTViaggio Palermo offers Sicilian specialities among many other options.
Much like gelato, the Viaggio Italiano chain comes in many flavors: Neapolitan, Venetian, Florentine, Pisan, Milanese and now Palerman -- take your pick. Each restaurant in the chain is named after an Italian city, with the interior and the menu also in theme.

The Sbarro pizza chain's local franchisees created Viaggio two years ago, capitalizing on the middle class's growing fondness for Italian food. And although the restaurants are affordably priced, they have a touch of class, completely lacking Sbarro's fast-foodiness.

A neighbor of Kievskaya's new Yevropeisky shopping center, two-level Palermo is one of the chain's newest additions, having opened Dec. 31. The menu's Sicilian-inspired dishes include a Sicilian salad with duck breast, orange, artichoke and capers (330 rubles), couscous with king mullet and vegetables (410 rubles) and black spaghetti and almonds served with tomato and pesto sauce and Pecorino cheese (220 rubles).

Classical pasta dishes include a spicy penne arrabbiata (190 rubles), fusilli with eggplant and anchovies (180 rubles, anchovies seemingly absent on a recent visit) and four-cheese gnocchi with (240 rubles).

Of course, there are pizzas too, and they're thin-crusted and delicious. The pizza with anchovies, tuna and artichokes (350 rubles) is excellent; other choices include forest mushroom (220 rubles), margarita (160 rubles) and the intriguing "country-style" pizza with smoked pancetta, pickles, caramelized onion, fried egg, mozzarella and tomato (260 rubles).

The soup with mussels (350 rubles), as it is listed on the menu, is in reality a heaping helping of juicy mollusks in a tomato-based sauce -- some of the best value mussels in town.

For dessert, spice lovers should try the pineapple carpaccio with red peppercorns and strawberry sorbet (160 rubles).

The restaurant was still waiting for its liquor license as of yesterday, but a complimentary glass of wine was offered to every guest. Beer starts at 90 rubles for a half-liter of Stary Melnik.

1 Dorogomilovskaya Ul., 240-1475, 10 a.m.-midnight, Sat & Sun. noon-midnight, M. Kievskaya.